80-year-old Spanish nun Sister Maria Gomez Valbuena appeared in court on Thursday, facing charges that she kidnapped an infant girl as part of a baby trafficking ring that stole newborns from mothers and sold them into adoption.

Sister Maria pled the fifth, refusing to testify.

The elderly nun was charged with kidnapping a newborn girl from Madrid back in the 1980's, and a group of 1,000 families accused her of smuggling babies over the last 40 years.

Lawyers in the case say that the priests and other nuns of the church acted as middlemen, paying hospital workers for babies and selling them to families desperate for kids.

"The nuns and priests justified what they did by saying that the child was better off with the adoptive family, but they still took the money," Enrique Vila, a lawyer who works for families trying to track down relatives, told The Daily Beast.

The dates of the scandal go all the way back to the Spanish Civil War, when Francisco Franco's minions stole babies from political prisoners, according to Reuters.  Years later, it became a profitable scheme.

Source: nydailynews.com